Free phone Web access picks up Tempo

High street store accuses rival of sour grapes as reports of fighting are denied

Electrical retailer Tempo has denied that fighting has broken out in its stores among customers desperate to get their hands software for its groundbreaking subscription-free ISP Screaming.net. A report in today's Mirror has been dismissed as nothing more than sour grapes after the tabloid newspaper launched its own branded ISP service, ic24, last week. But a spokeswoman for Tempo did confirm that 53,000 disks had been snapped up in just four days as Net users in the UK fell over themselves to take advantage of free off-peak calls to the service. There have been no reports of fighting in newsagents as Mirror readers squabble with one another to get details of the red top's ic24 service. Around 15,000 people have already switched to LocalTel -- the telecomms company behind Screaming.net -- in its first week. But the launch of Screaming.net has not been without some setbacks. Some users encountered busy tones last night when they tried to log on to the service. And the help desk has been under pressure from the sheer weight of calls from Net users with registration problems. A spokesman for LocalTel, Doug Walker said: "In a perfect world we would have loved to have handled all the calls." "We have had some people who were frustrated and I appreciate that this is not good." More CDs containing free Screaming.net software have been dispatched and LocalTel has added a further 450 ports to help cope with demand. ®

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